Choosing a Private Cloud platform involves trading off the scale of the environment, the types of applications running on the environment and compatibility with public cloud platforms with each other. VMware, DynamicOps, Gale Technologies, Abiquo, Platform Computing and Cisco offer the most compelling enterprise focused production application platforms. However other use cases and markets are best handled by other vendors.
Business Agility ...
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So you are a loyal VMware customer. You have licenses for vSphere 4 and you are about 40% virtualized. Based upon the revised vRAM entitlements in the revised vSphere 5 licensing, you think you are going to be OK as you progress through the more demanding business critical purchased and custom developed applications that lie in front of you. But you would like a hedge and a simple way to manage the second hypervisor that is a part of that hedge. Help has arrived.
VMware has done the right thing by taking care of their enterprise customers and making sure that they know that they can purchase vSphere 5 licenses under the terms of their existing ELA’s. The vast majority of smaller customers who run a small number of purchased applications are unlikely to be impacted by the new vRAM licensing, as their is probably plenty of vRAM headroom to take care of their needs. The issue is with customers who are not quite large enough to have an ELA, and who have sophisticated mixes of purchased and internally developed applications – and who are trying to push the density envelope in order to maximize their return from their investment in VMware. This customers are going to have to look at the new licensing in the above terms and make their own decisions.
VMware is already the most important, and with vSphere the best systems software vendor on the planet. This is true not only based upon the current success of the vSphere platform, but the quality of the long term strategies in place for vFabric, vCloud, and vCenter. With vSphere 5, VMware can ill afford distractions that detract from the momentum of the attack upon the remaining 60% that is not virtualized. The strategic investments in vFabric, vCloud, and vCenter then call into question of viability of having a desktop virtualization business (View) that is today in product and tomorrow in vision a minor subset of what Citrix is delivering and articulating.
Business Agility ...
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The single most dangerous part of this new pricing (to VMware) is rooted in the following fact. What is left to virtualize is very different from what has been virtualized to date. If what VMware has done is change its licensing around to replace one metric (cores) with another (vRAM) in a manner that would have allowed it to get the same revenue from its existing customers to date, then VMware has totally missed the boat.
Business Agility ...
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Just in time for the adoption of vSphere 5 by enterprises seeking to virtualize business critical and performance critical applications, AppFirst, BlueStripe, and ExtraHop have pioneered a new category of APM solutions. This new category is focused upon allowing IT to take responsibility for applications response time for every application running in production. This is an essential step on the road toward virtualizing the 60% of the applications that remain on physical hardware.
ExtraHop has now made an important contribution to the question of how to measure applications performance across physical and virtual environments. Properly deployed ExtraHop can play a critical role in helping enterprises virtualize the 60% of the remaining applications that are “hard”, “performance critical”, and “business critical”. As vSphere 5.0 is right around the corner, the timing could not be better.
What is still missing here is any kind of an end-to-end view of infrastructure latency that is also real time, deterministic and comprehensive. The marrying of the SAN point of view with the IP network point of view is the obvious combination. The hard issue here will be the identification of the applications so that these view of infrastructure performance can be surfaced on a per application basis. In summary, we have a long way to go here, and this just might be why so many of those virtualization projects for business critical and performance critical applications are having so much trouble getting traction.
Security in the cloud and the virtual environment is ‘all about the data’ and not specifically about any other subsystem. It is about the data. As such the data has something it knows (the contents of the data), something it is (its signature), and something it has (its digital rights) and since it has these three elements, the data has all it has identity. However, protecting the data requires us to put things between the data and the real world such as firewalls, and complex role based access controls, as well as methods to replicate the data to other locations in a non-intrusive mechanism. The goal to such replication could be to ensure multiple sites have the same data (such as a hot-site) or to have the data available in another locations in case of disaster.